In less than 24 hours, the world’s biggest bicycle industry show, Eurobike, will be kicking off in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Notching up 26 years in 2018, Eurobike is known as THE show for all things cycling. Whether you’re a bike brand, an accessory company, or a fabulous mountain bike media outlet (*ahem*), Eurobike is without doubt the biggest event on the annual calendar when it comes to catching up on what’s new and exciting in the cycling world. Plus there’s pretzels. A LOT of pretzels.
There are four of us who have made the trip over to Germany to cover the 2018 Eurobike show – Amanda, Hannah, Andi and myself are settling in for three days of madness wandering around the enormous halls of Messe Friedrichshafen, and we’ll be here to cover all of the newest gadgets and gear for you, our dear readers.
Now if you’re not familiar with Eurobike and what it’s all about, thankfully Chipps put together this excellent explanation of why it’s such a weird but wonderful event, and why we take nearly a week out of our calendar during the busiest time of the year to come to Eurobike.
To give you a bit of an idea of what to expect over the next week, we’ve put together this list of highlights from last year’s show. Some of them good, some of them bad, and some of them are just downright hideous. So sit back and relax, and enjoy a brief tour through Eurobike 2017!
1. Virtual Reality Mountain Biking
Yes viewers, the future is indeed here. No need to go outside to ride on dirty singletrack trails with rogue badgers and horse flies trying to attack you. Now you can get the same experience from the comfort of your own home!
Thankfully we stayed long enough to get this live demonstration of this bizarre device. What do you think? A useful aid for training? The future of indoor cycling? Or a very expensive and elaborate torture machine?
2. ENVE’s Wheel Destruction Machine
The guys at ENVE clearly weren’t sick of this demonstration – even by the end of the third day when I got this video. Having released its new carbon rim series and tubeless rim-protector strip just a week prior, ENVE had all the new wheels on display at Eurobike, along with this weighted anvil test to show just how hard of a hit your tyre can take without causing a snakebite. Pretty impressive, but boy does it sound expensive every time that anvil strikes down!
3. E*13’s Eagle-Beating 11-Speed Cassette
Drivetrain, wheel and chainguide brand, E*13, may have just released a new 12-speed upgrade kit, but its 11-speed TRS cassette is still just as relevant as when we saw it last year at Eurobike. With a 9-46t ratio, the E*13 TRS+ cassette offers existing 11-speed users the chance to widen their gear range to 511%, which is almost exactly the same as Shimano’s new XTR 10-51t cassette.
4. Sunn’s Intriguing Zig-Zag Shamann
Over the past few years, the rise of the e-Bike and the e-MTB has largely filled up most of the stands at Eurobike, making it difficult for journos like us to find naturally aspirated mountain bikes. Or at least ones that are new anyway. It’s no secret that the likes of Trek, Specialized and Giant have moved away from Eurobike, instead focussing their efforts and resources into their own press camps, where they can have the undivided attention of attending media. Without those big brands at Eurobike, it’s becoming quite the challenge to find actual new mountain bikes. Last year we came across an unassuming full suspension bike at the Sunn booth, called the Shamann. Using a full carbon construction, the Shamann gets a composite linkage that tucks right into the seat tube, giving it a highly integrated look. If you want to see the rest of the bike and more details, check out the full story here.
5. Transition’s New SBG Range
Transition was another of the few bike brands that used Eurobike to launch its latest range of mountain bikes. Having teased out the new Sentinel only weeks prior to Eurobike, Transition then rolled up with new versions of the Scout, Smuggler, and Patrol too. Each bike had been redesigned with the new ‘Speed Balanced Geometry’ concept, which you can read about in detail here.
Alternatively, check out the above video for a full run-through of why Transition thinks it’s found the holy grail of mountain bike geometry.
6. Syntace’s Quest To Build A Hub With A 10-Year Service Interval
German component brand, Syntace, has been working on its complete wheel range for a few years now, which are built with its very own hub design that features a tough ratchet-style freehub mechanism. There have been refinements to the hub system, but Syntace also ran through some of the concepts and designs it is working on to create a hub that you don’t have to service for 10 years.
Sound too good to be true? Check out the video above for a demonstration of those hub internals, and check out the article here for more info on how Syntace plans to achieve its goal.
7. Pivot Goes Electric With The Shuttle
Though we do cover e-MTBs here at Singletrack, we don’t go out of our way to cover absolutely every brand and every product that’s shown at Eurobike. In all honesty, that sounds exhausting, because there is a tonne of e-specific content at Eurobike. We also really like naturally aspirated mountain bikes, so we tend to focus on those.
But then we came across this – Pivot’s Shuttle e-MTB. Not only was this Pivot’s first e-MTB, it was also one of the first e-MTBs to come from a smaller boutique brand, signalling a seismic shift in the way both brands and consumers perceive mountain bikes with motors in them. We know that Intense is due to release a carbon fibre e-MTB called the Tazer, and Rocky Mountain has the Altitude Powerplay, and I’d bet my left nut that both Santa Cruz and Yeti are at least testing the concept.
There’s a lot that makes the Pivot Shuttle an impressive-looking e-MTB, so check out the full news story here for all the details.
8. Giro’s Knitted Shoes
One trend that sparked up at last year’s Eurobike show was the knitted shoe. Giro, Northwave and Vaude had shoes that used a woven knitted fabric for their shoe uppers, as you’ll see in this big SPD Shoe highlights article. Apparently the knitted fibre provides crazy good breathability, as well as great conformity for more comfort. We’re still unconvinced on using them in the mud though…
9. Rocky Mountain’s Pipeline & Instinct
Like Transition, Rocky Mountain had teased out its new Pipeline and Instinct models prior to Eurobike, but the show was the first opportunity we had to see the bikes up close and personal. And boy were those paint jobs nice to see in the flesh! You can check out the full details on those bikes in our original news story here.
Since we saw those bikes, we’ve tested and reviewed the Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition, which is that lovely matte green and orange bike you can see in the video above.
10. Yeti SB6 – The ‘Richie Rude Edition’
Although Yeti Cycles had no new frames at Eurobike last year, it did have some brand new complete bike options, as well as some stunning limited edition models – like this Richie Rude edition of the SB6. The hottest mountain bike of the show? It was right up there for us – that thing is gorgeous!
11. Rotor Redesigns The Freehub
Spanish crank and chainring brand, Rotor, had an interesting set of hubs on display called the Revolver. The big talking point with these hubs was a new freehub design, using a floating clutch mechanism instead of pawls. According to Rotor, this provided a simpler, lighter and more durable system. The 14.4° engagement angle is very high though, and during the demonstration, I found there was a lot more friction during coasting than what Rotor suggested. It is a very interesting design though, and you can get more details about it here.
12. Stoll’s 780g Carbon Hardtail Frame
This may very well be the lightest hardtail frame on the market, which is claimed to weigh just 780grams for the bare frame. The Stoll R1 was on the Bike Ahead stand, since it was decked out with some ridiculously lightweight carbon wheels. The complete bike is claimed to weigh just 6.9kg without pedals, making it lighter than most road bikes. Insane! Check out more details here.
13. KS And The 250mm Travel Dropper Post
Yes, it’s a thing. A real thing. With a crotch-grab lever, you can adjust this KS dropper post from full height, down 250mm to its lowest position. Turns out it isn’t really designed for mountain biking though.
14. That Weird Hectic Bouncy Drivetrain Thing
Crankset and chainring manufacturer, Miranda, had this superb display box with a Shimano Saint 10-speed drivetrain setup with one of its own cranks and narrow-wide chainrings. Hit the button, and the whole thing starts bouncing up and down as the pedals are rotating. You can click through the gears yourself, whilst marvelling out how secure the chain remains despite the rodeo unfolding in front of you. Purely mesmerising stuff!